Thursday, July 24, 2008

Yup, STILL in England!!

I know, this is getting ridiculous. But there's always something going on it seems.....
Last weekend was the great send off to Ed and his chums as they departed on the fifth annual "Mongol Rally." That's a very British thing where 230+ teams take off from Hyde Park on their way to..... Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia! (As you might remember, the site of some of more interesting travels in 2003...).
The top photo shows a glimmer of the "eccentrics" who took part in this very typically Brit adventure. There were three guys in a bathtub, next to a small Mini-Cooper with a red telephone booth on top of it.

The bottom photo is Ed, Charles and Max with the Mongolian ambassador to the UK, who came for the send off.
It was quite a festive occasion, with all the families there taking pictures of their boys (and a few girls) heading off on their three week sojurn — at least they all HOPE to make it to UB in about thee weeks. It's a rally, however, not a race, so everyone takes their own calculated route. The boys are going via "the Stans," as in Uzbekistan and those. It should be quite interesting. And, as always, as soon as I figure out how to post a photo gallery, I'll get more up. But here's one more I couldn't resist: They had a team of Mongol wrestlers there, which as you all remember is the No. 1 sport in Mongolia. Here's one action shot:

So there ya go.....
If you'd like to follow along, they (of course) have a website:, so you can read more about them and the race, and please make a donation! It's all for a good cause, and raises money for people helping people and animals in Mongolia.

What else? I've been trying to catch up on movies. Finally got to see Wall-E and loved the message it gave to us all. I was shocked ------ why am I still shocked?? ------- by the prices. 3.40 pounds (or $6.80) for a SMALL bag of unbuttered popcorn, on top of the $12 for a matinee ticket. (It can go as high as $26 for an evening movie, and you think I'm kidding?? Yep, 13 pounds.
They do a kinda cool thing tho, where you can buy unlimited movies at one of the largest chains, for $30 per month. If you only saw one movie a week, it would be worth it. The only catch is that you have to buy a one-year contract.
And no butter for the popcorn, can you believe it? Or you can also buy is "sweet," with sugar on top.
Then today I went to the first matinee of "Dark Knight." I've read so much about how well it did in the States in the first weekend, and I had to see it..... and glad I did. Very dark, indeed, with an interesting storyline. But I don't know that it will break records here. There were MAYBE 20 people in the screening I went to. Granted, it was the first day, but they're hyped it here with plenty of ads. It was a bit unsettling when The Joker went on about how much he likes killing with knives instead of a gun, because there have been 21 knife murders in London already this year..... and I would hate to think that this movie could "inspire" more copycats.

Let's see, in the news here:
The big story has been about this guy who faked his own death, but he was hiding in his house with his wife's knowledge the whole time. They LIED to their two sons, and the police and insurance companies, for six years. They wanted to get out of their debts here and start a new life in Panama, which might've worked until someone saw a photo of them on a website, buying real estate! Instead, they're serving six year sentences.
There's also been quite a bit of picking apart what the royals and the celebrities wear. They love to get pix of them in outfits that they've previously worn. The best was one of Princess Ann in a frock that she DARED to wear eight years ago. I think it's amazing that she could still fit in it!
They're now selling Coors beer here..... and the ads all say "Brewed in the UK." So much for Rocky Mountain Spring Water, eh?
When giving an email address, they ALWAYS say "forward slash" here, instead of just "slash." Does anyone USE the back slash?
My new favorite word: NUTTER. As in, he's a nutter, which is a nice way to say crazy person.
Everything here along Kings Road and the High Street is "final reductions." All retailing is hurting, that's for sure. Most everything is 70% off now, which ALMOST brings prices into a realistic zone.
I also loved reading about the innovations being doing by farmers in Wales. They're adding garlic to the cattle feed in hopes that it will reduce the amount of methane, and they're growing daffodils because there's something in them that might help slow down the onslaught of alzheimer's. Oh, and the culinary rage is all about mutton, not lamb. Mutton is two years or older, which gives it a gamier, stronger flavor, but it's having a resurgence in popularity, or so they say.
And I love the hand dryers here, the ones where you place your hands down into a trough, and it blows air at such a velocity that your hands are dry in seconds.

My friend Bill Stafford and I went down to Brighton last Sunday. I was just there a few weeks ago, but Bill knew some people down there so I tagged along. It's a college town, with tons of bars, and the beaches are rocks instead of sand... but it does have an allure. Here's one final parting shot of the Brighton Beach.